Oct 012020
 


Fred Stein Little Italy New York 1943

 

US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT)
This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Atl.)
James Comey’s ‘No Clue’ Routine On Russia Probe Exposes FBI In Distress (JTN)
Proud Boys & Antifa Are The Winners From The Presidential Debate (Turley)
Wall Street Responds To The “Shitshow” Debate (ZH)
Two Crucial Things Emerged From The First Presidential Debate (Widburg)
Charles Nenner – We Are in a Very Dangerous Period (USAW)
56 Million Americans Depended on Food Banks During the Pandemic (MPN)
Fed Study on Household Wealth Reveals Troubling Trends in American Inequality (MPN)
NATO Boss Stoltenberg Tells Georgia To ‘Prepare For Membership’ (RT)
New Details Of Sophisticated Spying Operation On Julian Assange Emerge (TH)
Trump Associate Ordered Huge Surveillance Of Assange Inside Embassy (Age)
The Arctic Hasn’t Been This Warm For 3 Million Years (PhysOrg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Money to Biden
https://twitter.com/seamusbruner/status/1310950906968649729

 

 

Sounds like a lot. But it’s annualized.

US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT)

US GDP fell by a 31.4 percent annualized rate last quarter, marking the steepest drop in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The previous worst quarterly drop was observed in the first three months of 1958, when GDP fell 10 percent on an annualized basis. The new data reflects a slightly upward revision, with output previously reported to have contracted at a 31.7 percent pace during the period. “The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as ‘stay-at-home’ orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses,” said the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending,” it added. The US economy fell at a five percent rate in the first quarter, signaling an end to a nearly 11-year-long economic expansion, which was the longest in the nation’s history. Economists expect growth to slow significantly in the final three months of this year, to a rate of around four percent. The economy could plunge back into a recession if Congress fails to pass another stimulus measure, or if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus, they say.

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Superspreaders appear real. But we don’t recognize them.

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Atl.)

By now many people have heard about R0—the basic reproductive number of a pathogen, a measure of its contagiousness on average. But unless you’ve been reading scientific journals, you’re less likely to have encountered k, the measure of its dispersion. The definition of k is a mouthful, but it’s simply a way of asking whether a virus spreads in a steady manner or in big bursts, whereby one person infects many, all at once. After nine months of collecting epidemiological data, we know that this is an overdispersed pathogen, meaning that it tends to spread in clusters, but this knowledge has not yet fully entered our way of thinking about the pandemic—or our preventive practices.

The now-famed R0 (pronounced as “r-naught”) is an average measure of a pathogen’s contagiousness, or the mean number of susceptible people expected to become infected after being exposed to a person with the disease. If one ill person infects three others on average, the R0 is three. This parameter has been widely touted as a key factor in understanding how the pandemic operates. News media have produced multiple explainers and visualizations for it. Movies praised for their scientific accuracy on pandemics are lauded for having characters explain the “all-important” R0. Dashboards track its real-time evolution, often referred to as R or Rt, in response to our interventions. (If people are masking and isolating or immunity is rising, a disease can’t spread the same way anymore, hence the difference between R0 and R.)

Unfortunately, averages aren’t always useful for understanding the distribution of a phenomenon, especially if it has widely varying behavior. If Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, walks into a bar with 100 regular people in it, the average wealth in that bar suddenly exceeds $1 billion dollars. If I also walk into that bar, not much will change. Clearly, the average is not that useful a number to understand the distribution of wealth in that bar, or how to change it. Sometimes, the mean is not the message. Meanwhile, if the bar has a person infected with COVID-19, and if it is also poorly ventilated and loud, causing people to speak loudly at close range, almost everyone in the room could potentially be infected—a pattern that’s been observed many times since the pandemic begin, and that is similarly not captured by R. That’s where the dispersion comes in.

There are COVID-19 incidents in which a single person likely infected 80 percent or more of the people in the room in just a few hours. But, at other times, COVID-19 can be surprisingly much less contagious. Overdispersion and super-spreading of this virus is found in research across the globe. A growing number of studies estimate that a majority of infected people may not infect a single other person. A recent paper found that in Hong Kong, which had extensive testing and contact tracing, about 19 percent of cases were responsible for 80 percent of transmission, while 69 percent of cases did not infect another person. This finding is not rare: Multiple studies from the beginning have suggested that as few as 10 to 20 percent of infected people may be responsible for as much as 80 to 90 percent of transmission, and that many people barely transmit it.

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A very strange performance. A few years ago, Comey said he remembered everything from his conversations with Trump. He wrote a book about the very things he now can’t remember, and he’s writing a second one.

“‘I don’t recall’ is the last defense of someone who has been painted into a corner.”

“All he is doing is putting himself in jeopardy or proving he was an incompetent director with no leadership skills..”

James Comey’s ‘No Clue’ Routine On Russia Probe Exposes FBI In Distress (JTN)

Time and again on Wednesday under the intense glare of the political spotlight, Comey claimed he had been kept in the dark or did not remember anything about essential developments in the Russia collusion probe that implied President Trump’s innocence. “That doesn’t ring any bells with me,” Comey answered when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked about a September 2016 referral to the FBI alleging Hillary Clinton and her campaign may have concocted the whole Russia collusion case against Trump to hide her own vulnerabilities. Similarly, Comey testified he either did not remember or was not told there were serious problems with the Christopher Steele dossier, that the dossier contained Russia disinformation, that Steele’s primary sub-source had disputed information in the explosive document or that the primary sub-source had previously been judged to be a possible Russian asset back between 2009 and 2011.

All those essential facts were kept from the FISA court, and Comey signed three FISA warrant applications approving surveillance targeting the Trump campaign and former adviser Carter Page without disclosing the flaws in the case. Senators reacted with incredulity. “Comey said he didnt kno abt problems w Page FISA b4 he approved again+again,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the chamber’s longest serving members, tweeted in shorthand. “If true wheres his outrage that agents made him look foolish by w/holding details? I often tell new agency heads either u run agency or agency runs u Who ran FBI during Russiagate+Where is accountability?” Grassley repeatedly slammed Comey’s “no clue” answers as outrageous. Similarly, Graham repeatedly challenged Comey’s account, calling one of his answers “far-fetched.”

“A bunch of crap to be used against an American citizen,” Graham said, referring to now-disproven information in the Page FISA. “You don’t recall this?” “It doesn’t sound familiar,” Comey answered. Lawmakers weren’t the only ones in disbelief. Former senior executives of the FBI told Just the News that Comey’s testimony laid bare an institution in deep distress that either was keeping its director in the dark about one of the most explosive political cases of all time or engaging in a coverup of epic investigative misconduct that deceived the FISA court and the Congress. “‘I don’t recall’ is the last defense of someone who has been painted into a corner. If Comey was truly this ignorant of arguably the most consequential case in FBI history, then he was pathetically inept,” said Kevin Brock, the former assistant director for intelligence under Comey’s predecessor as director, Robert Mueller.

“But it is far more likely that he was provided with detailed briefings of such a high-profile case on a daily basis, as is routine tradition with FBI directors. Comey knows what he is forgetting,” he added. In his testimony, Comey chose to embrace the first theory — incompetence — telling senators the pattern of mistakes and misconduct identified in the Russia probe “reflects entirely on me” in his role as top executive at the FBI. When Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the problems identified in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigative report “really embarrassing,” Comey agreed while insisting none was intended to be criminal conduct.

Jeff Danik, a former supervisory FBI agent, said he fears Comey may have put himself in legal jeopardy with Wednesday’s testimony. “I do not understand him going on out there and putting himself in position where there are so many people who can claim you did know,” Danik said in an interview. “All he is doing is putting himself in jeopardy or proving he was an incompetent director with no leadership skills,” he added. “It’s like a general who says there was a battle plan and all these guys got killed, but it isn’t my fault, I’m just the general.”

Sean Davis Comey

Comey doesn’t remember anything

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The media make up accusations against Trump, that most people actually believe are true, and then they want to force him to deny them every single day, which keeps the attention on their made-up stories.

It worked miracles with the “very fine people” hoax, they still use that one. So why stop there?

Maybe Trump should have played it like Biden, and simply deny the Proud Boys exist.

Proud Boys & Antifa Are The Winners From The Presidential Debate (Turley)

Last night’s presidential debate left many of us in a deep depression over the state of our politics. Once again, the duopoly of power in this country has reduced a population of over 300 million to a two subpar choices. President Donald Trump’s conduct and comments have been rightfully denounced while Biden offered little beyond not being President Trump. There were however two clear and surprising winners last night: Proud Boys and Antifa. When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace on why he has not been more clear in calling for Democratic mayors and governors to crackdown on rioting (including the use of the National Guard), Biden simply said that he was not the president. However, not only is that irrelevant, Biden has been forceful in calling for other actions on these protests and other issues like the pandemic despite his private citizen status.

Yet, the most notable aspect of his exchange with Wallace was his reluctance to denounce Antifa. Instead, Biden referenced FBI Director Christopher Wray’s statement that Antifa was more of a movement than an organization. Biden simply dismissed the question with “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.” It was a telling and inaccurate statement. We previously discussed Wray statement. Wray was adamant: “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a fiction” and, while it is not a conventional organization as opposed to a movement, they have arrested people who admit that they are Antifa.” I testified in the Senate on Antifa and its history of violence on our campuses and streets. As I have written, Antifa is indeed more of a movement than a specific organization, but it has members and associated groups.

Indeed, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association. Wray stated “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.” I have repeatedly emphasized that extreme right groups are also responsible for recent violence and Wray made clear that far right violence still dominates in terms of a threat profile. Moreover, I have opposed declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.

We have ample laws to deal with such extremist violence from the far left or far right. We do not need to rely on terrorism laws or most recently suggested sedition laws. Yet, Antifa is more than some “idea.” The Antifa Handbook discusses how it uses an association of groups, including self-identified Antifa groups, to carry out attacks on critics and those with opposing views. My greatest concern is that we need to take Antifa seriously as a virulent anti-free speech organization. There is a fair criticism of some politicians who have refused to denounce the group or even support it. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer.

Trump white supremacy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1311498659176108033

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Check out those polling numbers and tell me how confident you are that what you think is correct.

Wall Street Responds To The “Shitshow” Debate (ZH)

While Tuesday’s chaotic “shitshow” of a presidential debate between Trump and Biden revealed absolutely anything about either candidate’s core policies for the 2020-2024 period, it succeeded in raising analysts’ concerns about a bitter election and reinforced the view of slim prospects for further stimulus. As noted earlier, S&P futures fell as the debate left investors concerned that the election would indeed be bitterly contested well into the end of 2020 and perhaps into early 2021, however they have since erased all losses. This view was confirmed by Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group, who said that “what we’ve seen from the debate is the reinforcement that if Biden wins, Trump is not going to accept that. People positioned for an ugly contest afterwards have been validated….I don’t think we were expecting anything else from Trump. He continues to put that contested (result) risk premium back into the market.”

The confusion over the debate also meant confusion over who won. As Rabobank’s Michael Every writes, a CBS flash poll had Biden winning 48 – 41, and the CNN poll was 60 – 28. Yet a WGN poll, which is less partisan, saw Trump win 60 – 40, and Telemundo (US Spanish TV) viewers showed Trump winning 66 – 34 , all underlining that people see these things in very different ways. Rabo also quoted veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz who tweeted that his sample group saw some undecided voters now convinced not to vote at all, with the most common refrain being “I’m so sad for our country.” Every also addressed the last question of the evening on the legitimacy of the upcoming election process, where Trump said “This will not end well,” talking of no winner for months, which “concluded the evening under the darkest cloud, suggesting political risk will linger on in the market’s mind.”

Cowen, Chris Krueger: Krueger wrote that he disagrees with the “notion that debate was a dumpster fire: by definition, dumpster fires are contained.” Biden cleared the low hurdle Trump set with “Sleepy Joe,” he said; “was it Romney vs. Obama in the first 2012 debate? No. But he didn’t fall off the stage like Bob Dole in the 1996 race either. So that — in 2020 — is a win.” He doesn’t see the election’s trajectory changing, as each side’s bases were appeased, and called another stimulus deal “very unlikely.”

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“My guess is that this October, the Trump administration is going to release one piece of evidence after another showing that the Democrat party, from Hillary to Obama, and from the FBI to the CIA to the DOJ, and everywhere in between, engaged in a massive, seditious conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2016 election”

Two Crucial Things Emerged From The First Presidential Debate (Widburg)

The short version of the debate is that Biden did well if one ignored that almost every other statement he made was a lie or fantasy; Trump dominated him, almost too aggressively; and Chris Wallace may have been the worst and most obviously biased moderator since Candy Crowley. Most significantly, though, Biden and Trump each made a critical point. Biden’s was a tacit admission that, if he is elected president, he will preside over the end of the filibuster, allowing Democrats to pack the courts and add two new Democrat-majority states. Trump’s point was that he’s holding damning evidence about the Democrats’ coup attempt.

[..][ You can see that Biden made a nonsense statement to avoid answering whether he will preserve the filibuster and the Supreme Court’s current system of nine justices. Shamefully, Wallace let him get away with not answering. Wallace surely understands that Biden’s handlers plan to end the filibuster so that they can pack the court and add D.C. and Puerto Rico as states. Packing the court ends the American experiment as we know it. It means that the Supreme Court will be a political body that will exist solely to put its imprimatur on Democrat policies. And for those who say, “Well, if they pack the Court, then Republicans will pack it more when they’re in power,” that’s sadly foolish.

If Democrats pack the Court, there are no more Republicans. The whole democratic republic will be over. Once Democrats pack the Court, they never again need to persuade American voters to support their policies. One of their first policies in that new era will be to add hard-left Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico as the 51st and 52nd American states. That means four more Democrat Senate votes and a permanent Democrat party majority. You see, the hard-left Democrat party views our American political system the same way Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan viewed democracy before becoming a dictator for life: “Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.” This time around, once the Democrats win, they will change the rules so they can never lose again.

Heed this warning: If Biden wins, our constitutional America is gone. We will be a socialist country. If you don’t believe me, just read the Democrat platform. They’re not hiding their goals. Trump, though, might have some aces up his sleeve. When the subject of a “transition” came up (based on Biden’s assumption that he will win), Trump stated that he’d been denied a transition period. Instead, there was a coup attempt: ” There was no transition because they came after me trying to do a coup. They came after me spying on my campaign. They started from the day I won and even before I won. From the day I came down the escalator with our First Lady. They were a disaster. They were a disgrace to our country. And we’ve caught ‘em. We’ve caught ‘em all. We’ve got it all on tape. We’ve caught ‘em all”.

Maybe Trump’s exaggerating, but I don’t think so. And maybe he’s going to keep that evidence secret, but I don’t think that either. My guess is that this October, the Trump administration is going to release one piece of evidence after another showing that the Democrat party, from Hillary to Obama, and from the FBI to the CIA to the DOJ, and everywhere in between, engaged in a massive, seditious conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Indeed, the information cascade has already begun with the release of DNI John Ratcliffe’s letter about Hillary’s conceiving of the Russia hoax.

Sean Davis Declassification

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” People go into gold and store it away for the worst case scenario. If banks don’t survive, they have the gold.”

Charles Nenner – We Are in a Very Dangerous Period (USAW)

Renowned geopolitical and financial cycle expert Charles Nenner called this market just 2% from the top in January. What does he think now? He likes gold and says he “made more money in gold than in stocks” in the past few months. Nenner says, “We are playing the long term gold market. We went out at $2,100 (per ounce), and the price target was $1,850 (on the downside). We hit $1,850 a couple of days ago, so we bought back in. We get in and out for a couple of hundred points, and it’s worthwhile. So, the gold cycle is up for much longer. $2,500 is the first target, and it could be we get higher targets. I do not believe in the stock market, most of the markets we do nicely in are the gold market, silver market, crude oil market, bond market and the dollar. It’s all very simple and normal, and the stock market is not going to end very well.”

Nenner is long the stock market now until close to the end of November. Nenner says the rising market may be signaling a coming Trump win in November. Nenner is not sure, but what he is very sure about is the stock market is way overvalued just like it was earlier this year. Nenner explains, “As you know, the stock market is still very much overvalued. One of the reasons is the ‘Buffett Indicator,’ and that is the value of the stock market compared to the value of the entire GDP, and it’s extreme. I think it’s more extreme than the 2000 bubble. If you want to buy low and sell high, you have to have indicators of what is low and what is high, and, for me, this is high. This is based on the fundamentals, but on the cycles, we can try to test the highs one more time. This is not going to end well because everybody will try to get into the market, and then the whole thing is over.”

Nenner thinks with all the unemployment and businesses going under permanently, it is not an inflationary environment, at least not yet. Nenner says, “I still think we are going into a deflationary environment, and that still makes sense. That is also why gold is up. Most people don’t understand that because they always look for inflation for gold to go up. I show them that most of the bull markets in gold are deflationary periods and not inflationary periods. When you have deflation, there is nowhere to hide, and it’s very cheap to hold gold. You are afraid for the financial system, and that’s why gold goes up. . . . Look what happened in real estate. You thought you were safe in real estate. Companies are not buying malls, and companies are not paying rent anymore, or they negotiate and they are not going to pay anymore. So, that’s also not a safe place. So, there is not much left. People go into gold and store it away for the worst case scenario. If banks don’t survive, they have the gold.”

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Not everybody has the gold, though.

56 Million Americans Depended on Food Banks During the Pandemic (MPN)

Amid a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 209,000 Americans and caused widespread economic dislocation, tens of millions have been forced to rely on food banks to survive. A new report from the Pew Research Center found that 17 percent of the 13,200 people they surveyed said they had received food from a food bank or similar organization during the pandemic. Nationwide, that figure would amount to 56 million Americans. Unsurprisingly, those who identified themselves as “lower income” (35 percent) were far more likely to turn to food banks for help than those in the “upper income” bracket (1 percent). However, even 12 percent of “middle income” Americans admitted they needed outside help to put food on the table.

Black and Hispanic Americans were around three times more likely to need these services than white Americans. Pew’s research also sheds light on a number of other ways in which COVID-19 has harmed American society. 15 percent of respondents said that they had been made unemployed as a result of the fallout, with 25 percent of households having a member lose their job. One third of Americans have been forced to take a pay cut, 16 percent said they had had problems paying rent or mortgages, while a quarter could not pay other bills. As with food bank usage, these other problems were far more common among poorer households and people of color.

[..] Once only associated with enemy nations or with the Great Depression, bread lines have returned to the United States, although they often do not resemble classic images of lines of disheveled people. Today’s bread lines are as likely to be miles-long traffic jams or car parks filled with hungry drivers, sometimes waiting overnight for their turn at the drive through distribution centers. Overwhelmed charities work day and night, but have had to ration out deliveries. Even as food banks were cleaned out, fresh produce rotted on America’s farms. Many American farmers do not sell to a mass market. Instead, their produce is bought up by networks supplying universities, stadiums, or restaurants. But with many of those businesses shuttered, supply distribution networks broke down, leading to feast and famine.

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The Fed studies the inequality it has created.

Fed Study on Household Wealth Reveals Troubling Trends in American Inequality (MPN)

Millionaires and billionaires hold a remarkable 79.2 percent of the United States’ household wealth. That is according to a newly released triennial study into consumer and household finances from the Federal Reserve. The report paints a picture of an unequal America, where a small minority of the rich control the vast majority of household wealth. 11.9 percent of American households have at least $1 million in wealth. Overall, mean family wealth declined by three percent across the country between 2016 and 2019. However, the study notes, wealthy and highly educated families saw their fortunes rise, but households where the main breadwinner had not achieved a high school diploma saw their wealth fall.

In some parts of the country, one million dollars might not seem like an unusual price for a home. However, nationwide, the median home value dropped to $247,000 in 2020, with much more expensive properties rarer. Those merely having a mortgage on a million-dollar home do not qualify as owning $1 million in household wealth. At the same time, much of the country is living in serious poverty. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 40 percent of Americans reported that they would be unable to cover a small $400 emergency such as a leaking roof or a car repair. In 2018, 14.3 million U.S. households were food insecure, meaning they had problems finding enough to eat. The coronavirus and the economic dislocation that it has caused has greatly exacerbated both poverty and inequality, meaning that the Federal Reserve’s study, based on data collected before the pandemic, is likely out of date and an underestimate of the problem’s severity.

In 2017, just three men — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Jeff Bezos — held more wealth than the bottom half of America (164 million people). Since the pandemic began, all three have greatly increased their fortunes. Bezos, for example, has added over $73 billion to his since March alone. This is in stark contrast to tens of millions of people who lost their jobs, leading to a massive wave of de facto rent strikes across the country and a boom in demand for food banks.

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Stoltenberg is evil, which makes him perfect for NATO.

NATO Boss Stoltenberg Tells Georgia To ‘Prepare For Membership’ (RT)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Georgia to prepare to become a member of the US-led military bloc. On Tuesday, the premier of the former Soviet state Giorgi Gakharia was in Brussels to discuss closer cooperation. Georgia’s effort to join NATO began in 2005, just six years after it left the Russian-dominated CSTO. The integration of the Caucasus nation is seen by NATO leaders as having substantial strategic benefits, including extra Black Sea ports close to Russia. Earlier this year, an agreement between Tblisi and the bloc included joint exercises in the Black Sea and the sharing of more traffic radar data. “I urge [Georgia] to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to NATO and to prepare for membership,” Stoltenberg said, in a press conference.


“This is important for Georgia, and for NATO.”The secretary-general also noted that the bloc “supports Georgia’s territorial integrity,” calling on northern neighbor Russia to “end its recognition of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two de-facto states, recognized by most of the world as part of Georgia. According to Tbilisi, the two regions are actually occupied by Moscow.Speaking to RT, veteran Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that the potential induction of Georgia as a member means that NATO sees Russia as its main opponent. Pushkov, a member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, is the former chairman of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is widely considered to be close to the Kremlin.

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“U.S. intelligence agencies were reportedly pleased with the level communication that was illicitly intercepted, but encouraged UC Global staff to acquire more – pointing to Assange’s team of lawyers as a “top priority.”

New Details Of Sophisticated Spying Operation On Julian Assange Emerge (TH)

The whistleblowers, henceforth referred to as Witness 1 and Witness 2, detailed the intricate workings of the sophisticated sting referred to by UC Global staff as “Operation Hotel” – they came forward with their testimonies after growing increasingly uneasy about its worsening criminality. Witness 2, an IT expert with the security firm, detailed how Morales had tasked him with replacing the CCTV cameras in the Knightsbridge-located embassy in May of 2017, instructing him to source cameras that allowed for clandestine audio-recording capabilities. His statement, which was produced at the Old Bailey in the fourth and final week of Assange’s U.S. extradition proceedings, reads: “In early December 2017, I was instructed by David Morales to travel with a colleague to install the new security cameras. I carried out the new installation over the course of several days.

“I was instructed by Morales not to share information about the specifications of the recording system, and if asked to deny that the cameras were recording audio. I was told that it was imperative that these instructions be carried out as they came, supposedly, from the highest spheres. “In fact, I was asked on several occasions by Mr. Assange and the Political Counsellor Maria Eugenia whether the new cameras recorded sound, to which I replied that they did not, as my boss had instructed me to do. Thus, from that moment on the cameras began to record sound regularly, so every meeting that the asylee held was captured. At our offices in UC Global it was mentioned that the cameras had been paid for twice, by Ecuador and the United States, although I have no documentary evidence to corroborate this assertion.”

Witness 2 also detailed how Morales had asked for him to arrange for the cameras to contemporaneously transmit the recordings so that UC Global’s “American friends” could have instant access. The whistleblower invented a number of excuses however, stating: “I did this because I did not want to collaborate in an illegal act of this magnitude.” Instead, the UC Global employee was instructed to travel to London every 15 days in order to collect the hard-drives, passing them to Morales who travelled to the U.S. just as frequently – often with his wife – in order to pass the recordings to contacts within the CIA. Morales was rumoured among staff to have been paid €200,000 EUR a month for carrying out the eavesdropping – colleagues noted how his spending had become lavish and noticeable, buying himself a new house and a number of flashy sports cars during the span of two years.

[..] U.S. intelligence agencies were reportedly pleased with the level communication that was illicitly intercepted, but encouraged UC Global staff to acquire more – pointing to Assange’s team of lawyers as a “top priority”. That was in addition to the airport-like screening equipment that was put in place, where every visitor into the Ecuadorean embassy had a photo of their passport taken, their belongings taken off them and sophisticated devices swiped data contained on their digital devices – all forwarded to a secure server somewhere in the United States.

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Sheldon Adelson is above the law.

Trump Associate Ordered Huge Surveillance Of Assange Inside Embassy (Age)

Witness One told the court that Morales exhibited a “real obsession” in monitoring Assange’s lawyers because “our American friends were requesting it”. Witness One terminated the relationship with Morales and sold all shares after realising the full scale of the operation. Witness Two, an IT expert who joined UC Global in 2015, said in a statement that once Trump had won the presidency, Morales won a contract to provide personal security to Adelson and personally provided services for the tycoon and his children when they visited Europe.Witness Two said in mid-2017, Morales asked him to establish a taskforce that would solely look after the technical aspects of the video surveillance network of the Ecuadorian embassy.

By the end of that year, Witness Two said he had installed new cameras in the embassy capable of recording sound and lied to Assange when he was asked if the new cameras picked up audio. The witness testified that orders were given to steal the nappy used on Assange’s son Gabriel because the Americans wanted to establish the baby’s paternity, correctly suspecting that it was Assange’s secret love-child. Witness Two refused and instead tipped off Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee, to stop bringing the child to the embassy. Witness Two said in December 2017 Morales said that “the Americans were desperate” and had even suggested “that more extreme measures should be employed against the ‘guest’ to put an end to the situation of Assange’s permanence in the embassy”.

“Specifically, the suggestion that the door of the embassy could be left open, which would allow the argument that this had been an accidental mistake, which would allow persons to enter from outside the embassy and kidnap the asylee. “Even the possibility of poisoning Mr Assange was discussed, all of these suggestions Morales said were under consideration during his dealing with his contacts in the United States,” Witness Two said in the affidavit.

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The world also appears to warm up more at night.

The Arctic Hasn’t Been This Warm For 3 Million Years (PhysOrg)

Every year, sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean shrinks to a low point in mid-September. This year it measures just 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square kilometers) – the second-lowest value in the 42 years since satellites began taking measurements. The ice today covers only 50% of the area it covered 40 years ago in late summer. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in human history. The last time that atmospheric CO2 concentrations reached today’s level – about 412 parts per million – was 3 million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch.


As geoscientists who study the evolution of Earth’s climate and how it creates conditions for life, we see evolving conditions in the Arctic as an indicator of how climate change could transform the planet. If global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, they could return the Earth to Pliocene conditions, with higher sea levels, shifted weather patterns and altered conditions in both the natural world and human societies. We are part of a team of scientists who analyzed sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn in northeast Russia in 2013 to understand the Arctic’s climate under higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Fossil pollen preserved in these cores shows that the Pliocene Arctic was very different from its current state.

Today the Arctic is a treeless plain with only sparse tundra vegetation, such as grasses, sedges and a few flowering plants. In contrast, the Russian sediment cores contained pollen from trees such as larch, spruce, fir and hemlock. This shows that boreal forests, which today end hundreds of miles farther south and west in Russia and at the Arctic Circle in Alaska, once reached all the way to the Arctic Ocean across much of Arctic Russia and North America.


Because the Arctic was much warmer in the Pliocene, the Greenland Ice Sheet did not exist. Small glaciers along Greenland’s mountainous eastern coast were among the few places with year-round ice in the Arctic. The Pliocene Earth had ice only at one end—in Antarctica—and that ice was less extensive and more susceptible to melting. Because the oceans were warmer and there were no large ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere, sea levels were 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters) higher around the globe than they are today. Coastlines were far inland from their current locations. The areas that are now California’s Central Valley, the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf Coast all were underwater. So was the land where major coastal cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle stand.

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 262020
 


Botticelli Renaissance man (aka Medallion, Young man holding a medallion) 1480-85

 

Trump To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court (ZH)
‘Rank Religious Bigotry’: Black Church Leaders Defend Amy Coney Barrett (DC)
Trump $500B Black America Plan Names KKK, Antifa Terrorist Organizations (Fox)
Likely Voters: In-Person Presidential Debates Important This Year (JTN)
FBI Agent: Never Russia Collusion But Mueller Team Had ‘Get Trump’ Goal (JTN)
How Joe Biden Pushed To Quash Investigation Of Burisma (Smith)
Female Problems (Kunstler)
Scientists Urge UK Not To Follow Sweden’s Approach To Pandemic (Ind.)
Cantillon Effect 101 (Bloom)
Queen To Receive Government ‘Bailout’ To Top Up Income (Ind.)
The Difference Between ‘Villain’ Assange & ‘Intrepid’ Woodward (Camp)
Trump Will Only Leave Office If A Challenger Beats Him In Ritual Combat (BBee)

 

 

We’re going to hit 1 million global deaths tomorrow. No matter how twisted the numbers may be, that’s still a milestone.

 

 

 

 

Matt Taibbi has it exactly right: attacking Barrett for her faith is a very slippery slope. No matter how you feel about Roe vs. Wade. Which would appear to be just about impossible to denounce anyway.

 

 

“Senator Diane Feinstein generated considerable controversy when she said to Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly in you.”

One big problem with attacking her religious beliefs is that Joe Biden labels himself a devout Catholic, too.

Trump To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court (ZH)

Trump’s likely nominees to replace RBG on The US Supreme Court – 7th Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 11th Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa, and 4th Circuit Judge Allison Jones Rushing – have, according to sources who have leaked their information to The New York Times, been narrowed down to Judge Amy Coney Barrett: President Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the favorite candidate of conservatives, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and will try to force Senate confirmation before Election Day in a move that would significantly alter the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court for years. Mr. Trump plans to announce on Saturday that she is his choice, according to people close to the process who asked not to be identified disclosing the decision in advance.

The president met with Judge Barrett at the White House this week and came away impressed with a jurist that leading conservatives told him would be a female Antonin Scalia, referring to the justice who died in 2016 and for whom Judge Barrett clerked. Barrett is the most feared by liberals, some of whom concede that she has “a topnotch legal mind.” Many have focused on Judge Barrett’s devout catholicism – and therefore the abortion debate… “She is the perfect combination of brilliant jurist and a woman who brings the argument to the court that is potentially the contrary to the views of the sitting women justices,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group, who has praised Mr. Trump’s entire shortlist.

Additionally, as NYT noted earlier in the week, liberal groups have been sounding the alarm over Judge Barrett for two years because of concerns over how she might rule on abortion and the Affordable Care Act. “Amy Coney Barrett meets Donald Trump’s two main litmus tests: She has made clear she would invalidate the A.C.A. and take health care away from millions of people and undermine a woman’s reproductive freedom,” said Nan Aron, the president of Alliance for Justice, a liberal group. In a 2017 law review article written before she joined the appeals court, Judge Barrett was critical of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s 2012 opinion sustaining a central provision of the Affordable Care Act, saying he had betrayed the commands of textualism. “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” she wrote.

The court will again hear arguments on the fate of the law in November, and Judge Barrett’s article suggested that she would give its challengers a sympathetic hearing. However, in one of her most revealing opinions, Barrett took an expansive view of the Second Amendment – dissenting to the right of two colleagues who were appointed by President Ronald Reagan. In the world of conservative judges, she has particularly strong credentials. Judge Barrett began clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia 22 years ago, and her fellow clerks are quick to say she was his favorite. She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School and joined the faculty in 2002, earning praise from colleagues as an astute scholar and jurist even if they did not always agree on her jurisprudential premises.

But, as a reminder, Alan Dershowitz notes that when Judge Barrett came before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for her nomination to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Senator Diane Feinstein generated considerable controversy when she said to Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly in you.” This was a reference to Barrett’s deep Catholic faith. Under our Constitution, Senator Feinstein’s statement crossed the line. Ours was the first Constitution in history to provide that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Although Feinstein did not explicitly impose a religious test, she suggested that personal religious views — which she called dogma — might disqualify a nominee from being confirmed.

Read more …

Attacking someone for their religion doesn’t sound overly American to begin with.

‘Rank Religious Bigotry’: Black Church Leaders Defend Amy Coney Barrett (DC)

Black religious leaders rallied Friday to defend reported Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett against criticisms of her Catholic faith. “We do not know whether she will be nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, for which she is by all reports under consideration,” said the letter, which was signed by Charismatic Christian and Black Pentecostal leaders including clergy, scholars and pastors. “But we do know that attacks on her Christian beliefs and her membership in a charismatic Christian community reflect rank religious bigotry that has no legitimate place in our political debates or public life,” the letter said. President Donald Trump reportedly has selected Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee, multiple outlets reported Friday.


The letter continued: “We condemn these vile attacks—which began three years ago during the process of her confirmation for the judicial post she currently holds. As the descendants of slaves we are particularly sensitive to acts of discrimination and we demand an end to this reprehensible conduct.” The letter, titled “A Black Defense of Freedom of Conscience and Amy Coney Barrett,” was published by the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, an institution dedicated to educating and training black church leaders. The defense comes after Democrats suggested at Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearings that her Catholicism made her unfit to serve as a judge. Barrett’s Catholic faith has also been called “extreme,” and media has attempted to link a Catholic group associated with Barrett to the fictional dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Read more …

“.. they abandoned you and sold you out..”

Trump $500B Black America Plan Names KKK, Antifa Terrorist Organizations (Fox)

President Trump’s plan for Black America designates the KKK and Antifa as terrorist organizations and calls for making lynching a national hate crime, while pledging to increase access to capital in Black communities by nearly $500 billion, Fox News has learned. The president on Friday is expected to roll out details of what the campaign is calling the “Platinum Plan,” which details “opportunity,” “security,” “prosperity,” and “fairness” for the Black Community. “For decades, Democrat politicians like Joe Biden have taken Black voters for granted. They made you big promises before every election—and then the moment they got to Washington, they abandoned you and sold you out,” the president is expected to say Friday, according to remarks exclusively obtained by Fox News.

“The Democrats will always take Black voters for granted until large numbers of Black Americans vote Republican.” The president is expected to tout the plan as “a bold vision that we can and will achieve over the next four years.” The president’s plan, according to the campaign, will increase access to capital in Black communities by almost $500 billion, help to create 500,000 new Black-owned businesses, and help to create 3 million new jobs for the Black community. Fox News obtained a copy of the “Platinum Plan.” It states that it will “prosecute the KKK and ANTIFA as terrorist organizations and make lynching a national hate crime.” The president’s plan also vows to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Meanwhile, the president is also expected to commit to working on a “Second Step Act,” and provide access to better jobs and training opportunities for those in Black communities. The Platinum Plan also pledges to give Black churches the ability to compete for federal resources for their communities; bring better and tailored healthcare to address what the campaign called “historic disparities,” and advance home ownership opportunities and enhance financial literacy in Black communities.

Read more …

Better show up, Joe.

Likely Voters: In-Person Presidential Debates Important This Year (JTN)

A strong majority of likely U.S. voters say in-person, face-to-face presidential debates between President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are important in terms of their expected vote, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Among the likely voters surveyed, 75% said the debates were important. Just 24% said they were not, while 1% were unsure. Notably, Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats (69% – 42%) to say the debates were “very important.” Independents were closer to Democrats on the question, with 46% attaching major importance to the debates. Rasmussen pointed out that, historically speaking, debates “are built up as a significant event, like a prize fight.”


“Political junkies and pundits thoroughly enjoy them,” he said, but overall the debates “rarely move the needle in terms of voting intentions.” “It is possible that this year could be different because voters have seen so little of Joe Biden,” he also said. Holding the 2020 presidential debates on a live stage was somewhat in doubt earlier in the year, with speculation that the coronavirus pandemic might lead to the event being held virtually. Over the summer, there were also indications that Democrats might be shying away from letting Biden participate, with Nancy Pelosi in August suggesting that no debates should be held at all.

Read more …

38 days left?!

FBI Agent: Never Russia Collusion But Mueller Team Had ‘Get Trump’ Goal (JTN)

An FBI agent who played a lead role investigating Michael Flynn told the Justice Department there was never evidence of wrongdoing by the retired general or Russian collusion by President Trump, but the probe was kept open by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because his team had a “get Trump” goal, according to an explosive interview released Friday. Agent William Barnett’s interview with Justice Department prosecutors earlier this month provided a bombshell claim that both FBI superiors under agency Director James Comey and Mueller’s team exhibited bias in their pursuit of Trump that upended the normal investigative decisions, tactics and commitment to pursue evidence neutrally.

The interview emerged just one day after the Justice Department released text messages showing FBI analysts bought liability insurance in January 2017 because they feared they could be sued for misconduct committed during the Russia probe. “BARNETT thought that the TRUMP campaign may have been aware the Russians were attempting to impact the election but that was far different from the TRUMP campaign and the Russians having a deal and/or working together quid pro quo,” the report of his Sept. 17 interview reads. “BARNETT” and others joked about how the investigation into collusion could be made into a game, which they referred to as “Collusion Clue.”

In the hypothetical game, investigators were able to choose any character conducting any activity in any location and pair this individual with another character and interpret it as evidence of collusion. Barnett added: “With respect to Flynn’s [phone call] with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 BARNETT did not believe Flynn was being directed by TRUMP. BARNETT did not believe FLYNN had any additional information to provide SCO. Barnett believed the prosecution of Flynn by SCO was used as a means to ‘get TRUMP.’ ”

Barnett described how the top levels of the FBI, including now-fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suddenly took over the investigation after Trump won the November 2016 election and continued to keep the case going even though there was “little detail concerning specific evidence of criminal events.” “BARNETT still did not see any evidence of collusion between the TRUMP campaign and the Russian government,” the interview report stated. “Barnett was willing to follow any instructions being given by the deputy director as long as it was not a violation of the law.”

Read more …

Excerpt of the book “Permanent Coup”. Not new, but good to point out that the story came from the NYT.

How Joe Biden Pushed To Quash Investigation Of Burisma (Smith)

“Well, son of a bitch,” said Joe Biden. “He got fired.” The audience laughed. Biden always knew how to make people laugh. He had the common touch. But these weren’t common people — it was an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, and Biden was trying to impress them with a story about himself as a man who got things done. It is easier to get things done using the resources of the U.S. government. Biden was talking about a trip he made to Kiev to speak with Ukrainian officials. “I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee,” Biden said. He said that he had a commitment from the Ukrainian president and prime minister to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company that paid his son more than $80,000 a month. Unlike his father, who made many business trips to Kiev, Hunter never visited.

The Ukrainian heads of state and government tried to deflect Biden’s demands. “We’re not going to give you the billion dollars,” Biden told the Ukrainians. “They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.'” Biden dared them to call Obama. “I said, call him.” The Manhattan audience laughed again. “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.” Biden had implicated the former president in an extortion scheme, in front of an audience. His statements were on videotape for anyone to view online. Of course no one was going to prosecute Obama or Biden. The making of foreign policy requires the use of various instruments to advance the national interest. Whether leveraging U.S. taxpayer money to get the vice president’s son out of trouble served the national interest is another question.

Biden said he never asked Hunter about his business, but he should have warned him that doing business in Kiev was a bad idea, for him and for U.S. national security. Hunter’s problems with money, women, and substance abuse would have flagged the attention of foreign intelligence services looking to influence the United States through the troubled son of the vice president. His job on the board of a company under investigation for corruption in a country known for corruption also would have made him and U.S. national security vulnerable. It was the duty of the chief executive to find out what, if anything, had happened. Donald Trump was impeached, in part, to punish him for asking what Joe and Hunter Biden had been up to in Ukraine. Democrats and the media knew the Bidens were involved in questionable practices.

In December 2015, the New York Times had reported that Hunter’s work for a corrupt Ukrainian energy company called Burisma compromised the vice president. But four years later, the context in which those facts had appeared changed. Hillary Clinton and Biden were no longer vying with each other for the 2016 nomination. Clinton was no longer the establishment pick, and her campaign had no reason to dump dirt on Biden to hurt his candidacy. In 2019, the story was nakedly about Democratic party corruption. So according to the left, facts describing Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine became components of a right-wing conspiracy theory, even though those facts appeared in the Times.

Read more …

“The Democrats are not just having a tantrum, now they’re chewing up the furniture, ululating, beating their flanks, discharging gobs of snot, peeing their panties, and foaming at the mouth..”

Female Problems (Kunstler)

History-the-trickster has paradoxically anointed the Great Disrupter, Mr. Trump, as the agent of order while the Democrats seek to bring chaos into every quarter of American life, a party of shrieking “Karens” and men acting like women. Such as: Tom Friedman of The New York Times mewling like a little girl to Anderson Cooper on CNN Thursday night that he was “living in terror,” that “everybody should be terrified,” because Mr. Trump “refuses to commit to accepting the election results.” Is that so? I think it was Hillary Clinton who declared just a few weeks ago that “Joe Biden should not concede the election under any circumstances” — for instance, the circumstance that he loses the election.

Of course, Mr. Trump, troll supremo, is simply punking his adversaries by proposing to play fair, that is, to play by the same rules they play by. And this only causes the Democrats to retreat into the chaos that is their comfort zone, where they hop up and down like fourteen-year-old girls in a tantrum. They are provoked, you understand, because Mr. Trump actually represents the thing they hate most: Daddy! Daddy’s in da house, the White House, as a matter of fact, and this baleful symbolic circumstance has driven the Democrats out of their gourds for four years, turning them into a party of hysterical women and men acting like hysterical women. Would you want to get on an airplane in bad weather piloted by a crew of hysterical women? That’s kind of the Big Question going into this national election 2020.

Tantrums, tantrums everywhere! The hysterical women (including men) of the Democratic Party have enlisted Black Lives Matter as their official agents of chaos. It must be so, because every time chaos erupts in an American city, and buildings catch on fire, and businesses are looted and burnt down, and police are bushwhacked, the local Democrats in charge where these things happen do not offer a peep of objection. And neither Kamala Harris nor her sidekick Joe Biden send any message aimed at quelling the violent hysteria. One must conclude that they’re on-board with rioting, arson, looting, and bushwhacking. Like I said: chaos = their comfort zone.

[..] The death of Justice RBG has amplified the hysteria. The Democrats are not just having a tantrum, now they’re chewing up the furniture, ululating, beating their flanks, discharging gobs of snot, peeing their panties, and foaming at the mouth. If he was anyone else but Daddy, Mr. Trump might have to take them out and have them shot. Instead, the President is going to nominate a sane and reasonable Mommy to the Supreme Court, and Uncle Cocaine Mitch is going to see that she is confirmed, and there is an excellent chance that together they will bring order back to this deranged household — and then perhaps we can turn our attention to the real existential problems of financial crisis and economic collapse.

Read more …

Why not make Finland our ideal instead?

Scientists Urge UK Not To Follow Sweden’s Approach To Pandemic (Ind.)

Sweden’s handling of coronavirus has been “ineffective” and its controversial approach to the pandemic should not be given credence in the UK, a group of scientists have warned. Independent Sage – a collection of experts mirroring the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – said the success of the country’s light-touch approach had been overstated in some quarters. In a briefing on Friday, Dr Gabriel Scally, a member of the group and president of epidemiology at the Royal Society of Medicine, said that compared to its neighbouring countries, Sweden had been unsuccessful in preventing fatalities related to Covid-19.

His remarks came after it emerged Boris Johnson and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had received advice from scientists outside the official Sage group on Sunday, including Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who devised the controversial approach to the pandemic. Unlike many other European nations, the country did not enter lockdown at the outset of the pandemic, keeping bars, restaurants and pubs open while most children remained at school. The country instead placed emphasis on personal responsibility to socially distance. However, some restrictions were introduced, including workers being advised to work from home if possible, a ban on gatherings of more than 50, and travel was restricted from outside the European Union.

Dr Scally said there had been a great deal of discussion about the Swedish model as a way of approaching the pandemic, but warned: “We’ve been concerned about this because we have noted the very different performance of Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. We are extremely concerned that that model may be given some credence.” He added: “We believe it is ineffective. Sweden has had an enormous number of deaths per head of population: 5,880 deaths, representing 580 deaths per million population. Compared to its neighbours it has been unsuccessful in preventing deaths. Finland, for example, has had exactly 343 deaths, which equals 62 deaths per million population.

Read more …

Forget about Trickle Down. This guy knew that 300 years ago.

Cantillon Effect 101 (Bloom)

With the recent money printing activity and an expanding wealth inequality problem, talk of the “Cantillon Effect” has taken center stage. But what is the Cantillon Effect and how does it work? Richard Cantillon was an Irish-French banker, philosopher, and economist born in the 1680s. His “Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General” is considered a foundational work in the study of the political economy, though it was not published until 1755, well after his death. While published 265 years ago, the essay has many insights that remain relevant today. He posited that the early recipients of new money entering an economy will enjoy a much higher standard of living than those it trickles down to. The “flow path” of new money matters! Let’s use a simple story to illustrate his point.

Imagine you live in a small, simple island society. One morning, you find a package has been delivered to your doorstep from your long lost Uncle FEDerico (who lives in a far away land). The package has $1 million in it. No one else knows you have received this package. You now secretly have $1 million. So naturally, you start spending it and investing it very quickly. Prices are still low, because no one knows these new dollars exist yet! Your standard of living improves rapidly. You buy yourself the nicest house, the most beautiful clothes, tons of land, and still have some money left over. But now, people are aware that new money is flowing through the system. Prices begin to rise as supply has yet to “catch up” to the new demand.


So while the money allowed you to invest, spend, and dramatically improve your lifestyle, it did not benefit others in the society in the same way. The sellers of the goods, who received your cash, now face rising prices when they want to consume.The flow path mattered! This is an ultra-simplified example, but gets at the essence of what the Cantillon Effect describes. Those receiving the new money injected in an economy first are generally much better off than those receiving it via the trickle down. This may lead to inequality.The Cantillon Effect is often discussed when examining the impact of “money printing” of Central Banks globally. With an injection point of the “new money” at the top, asset owners benefit while the working class may experiencing rising prices for everyday goods like food.

Read more …

Cantillon in present-day life.

Queen To Receive Government ‘Bailout’ To Top Up Income (Ind.)

Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed it will top up the Queen’s income following a significant slump in the Crown Estate’s revenue during the coronavirus crisis. The royal family takes in rental receipts from shops in London’s Regent Street, alongside malls and retail parks around the country – but the value of its portfolio has fallen by more than £500m since the pandemic hit. The Treasury said it would provide the estate with extra money to meet any shortfall in profits and make sure the Queen’s sovereign grant remains at its current level. “In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year,” a spokesperson said told The Independent.

“The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services – over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer. The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.” More details on the next sovereign grant are expected to be set out on Friday – but legislation governing the formula prevents the overall amount given to the Queen from ever being allowed to fall. Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, described it as a “golden ratchet”, adding: “Once the grant goes up it can never come down, and the taxpayer loses out.”

Robert Palmer, the head of Tax Justice UK, added: “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs and businesses during the pandemic.” Any profits made by the Crown Estate are passed to the Treasury which, in turn, hands 25 per cent of the profits back to the Queen through the sovereign grant.

Read more …

Where would we be without hypocrisy?

The Difference Between ‘Villain’ Assange & ‘Intrepid’ Woodward (Camp)

Right now, one journalist, Julian Assange, is on trial while being held in a maximum security prison in London. Another journalist, Bob Woodward, is in a very different situation. The liberal Establishment is preparing to chisel his likeness out of a small boulder and display it next to the Lincoln Memorial. They love him because he got President Donald Trump to do interviews wherein Trump, as always, sounds like a lying buffoon. Among other things the president admits he knew Covid-19 was “deadly stuff” back in at least February, but played it down anyway. But this is nothing new. Every time Bob Woodward puts out a book, the mainstream media fan-girls all over him. Myriad kings and queens of televised logorrhea describe him as a “veteran reporter,” a “famed reporter,” or “synonymous with investigative journalism!”

So what’s the difference between liberal-hero journalist Bob Woodward and dastardly evil villain cannibal-pedophile Julian Assange (who Hillary Clinton famously said we should drone bomb)? Well, Julian is on trial for obtaining and disclosing classified information from the U.S. government. Liberal superhero Bob Woodward would never do such a thing like that! …Oh, that’s right. He actually said in his own online journalism class — “I have rarely found a significant story where there isn’t a document. …Often you can’t get it because it’s classified but… it’s there, and if you can get somebody to assist you, it will indeed help you with your story. …The hardest documents [to get] are intelligence documents. …And I’ve had them and printed them.”

Hmm, so the icon of investigative journalism actually brags about printing classified information. Well, maybe the difference between Assange (currently being fed to the lions) and Woodward (currently being lionized) is that Assange supposedly pressured people into giving him classified information whereas Woodward would never do that. For Bob the information just arrives at his door unsolicited.…Oh, wait a second. On video Woodward recently said, “Documents rarely just arrive in the mail out of the blue. …You have to go to human beings and say, ‘Will you give it to me?’ You say, ‘Come on, let’s talk. Let’s, uh, not be chickenshit about this.’” Soooo, the guy that has the entire mainstream media licking his shoes has been involved in obtaining and publishing classified information, and in fact pressuring sources into supplying him those documents?

Wow. Bob Woodward and Julian Assange are exactly the same except Assange has actually not been proven to have pressured sources into giving him documents. And there’s one other difference between the Almighty Bob Woodward and the so-called servant of Lucifer, Julian Assange. Nothing WikiLeaks has ever published has been proven false. Not one sentence. Whereas, the outlets Woodward works with like The Washington Post and The New York Times publish false information all the time.

Read more …

Simple question: who of you amongst our US readers would vote for Pelosi if she were the Democrat candidate?

Trump Will Only Leave Office If A Challenger Beats Him In Ritual Combat (BBee)

Clad in tribal furs and leather, President Trump shouted this morning that he will only transfer power if a challenger beats him in a one-on-one spear fight. Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying the only way to dethrone him would be for a challenger to beat him in ritual combat, per Wakandan tradition. The winner of the fight will receive the presidency and a cool suit that grants him super strength to go around the world and punch commies and stuff.


“It will not be a peaceful transfer of power,” Trump said. “It will instead be a fun, entertaining transfer of power, and that’s much more important. We can gather together all the tribal people and they can chant and bang their spears down and stuff. Totally tremendous and remarkable event. Really spectacular.” Biden then wandered up to Trump and said he’d challenge the president to a push-up contest. “I don’t even know who you are,” Trump growled. “Yeah, me neither,” Biden replied, wandering away again. “This is the way,” Trump concluded. He was then informed that was the wrong franchise.

Read more …

 

 

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Aug 142020
 
 August 14, 2020  Posted by at 12:35 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Egon Schiele Self-Portrait with Lowered Head 1912

 

 

Regular Automatic Earth guest writer Alexander Aston this time comes not from Zimbabwe, Cambridge or Greece, but from South Carolina, where he is on family business. And that’s where he’s venting his anger about. I’m pretty sure we would all benefit from doing more of that, get it all off our chests. I think maybe the main issue with it in the present day circumstances is you have to make sure it’s your anger, and not somebody else’s that you’re merely parroting.

I personally like Alexander’s notion of: “America, a Country For Old Men”.

 

 

 

Alexander Aston: Is there any more perfect metaphor for a society in terminal decline than the senescent Joe Biden? The U.S. election has boiled down to a choice between the authoritarian versions of Mr. Magoo and P.T. Barnum. Truly, “there’s a sucker born every minute” is a far more apropos motto for the country than E. Pluribus Unum. The Republicans have adopted a Christian Nationalism that identifies with a New York shyster that says all the shitty things they’ve been feeling for decades while blaming the least powerful. It’s always easier to kick down than punch up and moral courage is not a common trait.

Likewise, the Democrats smug self-satisfied conviction of ethical superiority and sense of entitlement to the votes of every women, brown person and leftist makes them not only insufferable but delusional. The DNC managed to crush the momentum and energy of one of the most significant left- wing grassroots movements in US history. They have demoralised a huge swath of the under-45 crowd and subverted an actual political vision (regardless of whether you agree with it or not) in favour of a man with an abysmal record and signs of growing cognitive impairment. The DNC platform offers zero substantive policy other than “not Trump” (a policy that’s going to have a very short honeymoon in the face of cascading systems failure).

The Democrats have made no concessions on even one important progressive/left issue. Now they have picked a morally bankrupt prosecutor who’s deeply entangled with the prison industrial complex at a time in which “defund the police” has coalesced into a key feature of American discourse. Yet, liberals seem completely shocked and aghast by the fact that there are large numbers of young folks, minorities and women that are unwilling to shut up and put up. The level of enthusiasm beyond the party faithful, for those still willing to vote Democrat, amounts to the ever inspiring “I’ll grit my teeth.”

 

Meanwhile, I know middle aged folks that have never voted in their lives who have signed up just to support Trump. In other words, they are motivated. Like it or lump it, that’s some of the real political complexity behind the vacuous narrative management of the MSM. On a national level, the American sense of reality is becoming more unhinged than a schizophrenic dropping acid after a weeklong meth binge. George Soros funded Antifa and Putin’s army of trolls are all monsters of the same fevered social imagination. On its current trajectory, the American Right will soon believe anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is a “far-left radical.”

Likewise, U.S. liberals will be left haunted and terrified by the spectre of Russian agents stealing their precious bodily fluids. Meanwhile, the virus will continue to rage, and corporate feudalism will further entrench itself as the benefits of imperial citizenship rapidly fade. The only thing that’s certain is that huge swaths of Americans still won’t actually understand what is happening to them and continue to blame the opposing factions of management, figments of their propaganda, the dispossessed and the marginalised. I don’t believe the specific outcome of the American election is all that relevant anymore.

The sad truth is that the United States is collapsing under the weight of a microscopic entity and its own systemic contradictions. The various narratives of what is happening and what it means to be an American have become so wildly divergent that there are multiple parallel realities operating in the United States. What’s frightening is how few realise the diversity and complexity of these various perspectives, fears and aspirations. Regardless of who wins the election, trust in the political legitimacy of the American system is being fatally undermined. If the margin of the election is close, it is guaranteed that one side will not accept the results.

 

If the election is swept, then the winning party will be saddled with a crisis of unparalleled proportions in the history of the country. Furthermore, neither party has the political vision nor competence to actually address the challenges that beset them. The U.S. would need leadership on par with a Lincoln or Aurelius to rescue the political system. Whoever is in power will rapidly face multiple and intersecting forms of systemic breakdown, resistance and noncompliance as the extent of the economic devastation becomes truly apparent.

The first part of the 2020’s will consist of material deprivation, civil unrest and increasingly robust challenges to the United States’ geostrategic position. The more that authoritarians try to exert control in a high entropy environment (robbing Peter to pay Paul), the faster the system will fall apart. Ultimately, I believe that the break-up of the United States is all but inevitable at present. What I hope is that it will be a relatively peaceful dissolution and reorganisation. What should terrify us all is the prospect of real violence as the various factions and coalitions jockey for power in the new reality. A few truly smooth brained idiots think that they just need to tool up and go mow down a few “liberal snowflakes” so that they can return to the 1950’s by Christmas.

 

A conflict in North America would be a clusterfuck that would make Syria’s civil war look like a game of checkers. Forget electoralism and eschew romantic notions of purification through violence. Build solidarity networks, figure out how to make your communities economically, socially and psychologically resilient. My suggestion would be that Mutualism, Libertarian Municipalism and Democratic Confederalism offer some good starting points for thinking about these things. I would recommend setting up a micro- factory in your community so that you can start manufacturing necessary tools and goods on a local level. Here are some freely available schematics: Civilization Starter Kit.

Try to appreciate the limitations of your own understanding so that you might be more compassionate towards others. Don’t blame people for having problems they don’t know how to fix, try helping them instead. Some things, once broken, cannot be mended. This is very true for societies. I sincerely wish you all the best of luck. Please be good to one another and defend those less powerful and fortunate than yourself.

P.S. If you are in a swing state you should follow your conscience, but it should be beneath any person’s dignity to vote for either party in their safe states. If you don’t understand how the American electoral system works at this point then shame on you, stop berating people for voting Green in Montana or Libertarian in California, they’re actually displaying some political acumen.

 

 

 

 

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